Show: ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES Date: April 21, 2016 Guest: A.J. Delgado, Jess McIntosh, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Richard Kim, Christopher John Farley
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate.
HAYES: A culture war erupts on the right.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Have we gone stark raving nuts?
HAYES: Tonight, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz come out on opposite ends of legalized discrimination, as the NBA reveals plans to move the all-star game from North Carolina.
Then, today`s change in tone for Bernie Sanders.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, if we do not have a majority, I think it`s going to be very hard for us to win.
HAYES: And then the death of a music icon.
HAYES: The world responds to the death of Prince.
PRINCE, MUSIC LEGEND: I believe in the afterworld. Hopefully, we`ll all see it.
HAYES: A look at his musical legacy, his activism, and his epic fight against the music industry.
PRINCE: Even at 17 when I got into the business I never thought that I worked for Warner Brothers.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
A huge whirlwind news day with the loss of a music and cultural icon, very sad day in that respect. We`ll be remembering him. And a busy day in politics as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders hold dueling rallies in Pennsylvania in advance of next week`s big primaries, with that state being the biggest haul.
But a culture war in the Republican presidential race early today to start the day off. In a town hall on the "Today" show this morning, Donald Trump was asked his opinion of North Carolina`s controversial law forcing transpeople to use bathrooms corresponding to the gender of their birth certificates.
And his response was, for Trump, surprisingly sensible and tolerant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: One of the best answers I heard was from a commentator yesterday saying, leave it the way it is right now. There have been very few problems, leave it the way it is.
People go, they use bathroom that they feel is appropriate. There has been so little trouble. And the problem with what happened in North Carolina is the strife and the economic -- I mean, the economic punishment that they`re taking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As of today, North Carolina could take an even bigger punishment for that law. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said this afternoon the 2017 all-star game would have to move from Charlotte if the law doesn`t change.
Ted Cruz immediately pounced on Trump`s comments, seizing the opportunity to paint him as out of step with the Republican voters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: Now, let me ask you, have we gone stark raving nuts? I`m the father of two little girls. Here is basic common sense. Grown adult men, strangers, should not be alone in a bathroom with little girls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It`s a genuine policy dispute, if you can call it that, between the two leading Republican candidates. One of few we`ve seen in a race driven almost spiral recently over fights over process and style. It comes as Donald Trump is making himself over for the general election, attempting to calm Republican elites, worried about the party`s chances under an ever likelier Trump ticket.
Listen to how Congressman Chris Collins, one of Trump`s few supporters on Capitol Hill, supped up the changes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CHRIS COLLINS (R), NEW YORK: You`re going to see a growing Trump organization as we pivot to a general election and start bringing out policies. You`re going to start seeing a presidential Mr. Trump. He`s talked about it -- shifting into a more presidential speech-giving, policy decisions and demeanor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Less than 24 hours after Trump mocked Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail for using a teleprompter, the Trump campaign confirmed he`s hiring a speechwriter and practicing using a teleprompter of his own.
Even as Trump continues to rail against party official for their, quote, "rigged system", he`s sending top aides to court the GOP elite both in Washington and in RNC meeting now underway in Florida.
Veteran operative Paul Manafort, the recent hire, would seize control of the campaign from its long time manager, described his pitch to party leaders an interview with MSNBC`s Kasie Hunt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CONVENTION MANAGER: We`re here to let them know that we`re going to run a traditional campaign. We`re the nominee of the Republican Party. It`s going to be a Trump brand of the party. But it`s - - we are Republicans, we`re running as a team.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Running as team, traditional campaign, that`s a real about-face for a campaign that has been anything but.
At the same time, Ted Cruz is trying to portray himself at the Trump alternative, the most electable candidate and the biggest threat to Hillary Clinton, releasing a new two and a half minute web video with actors playing Clinton and her closest aides.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, POLITICAL AD)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The plan is coming together. Donald Trump is paving the way for you to win the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s our next move?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our oppo file on Trump is ready to go. When our friends in the media release this stuff, he`s toast.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Silencing dissenters with lawsuits, taking people`s property, a long list of failing businesses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He plays fast and loose with the facts and he`s only concerned with himself. He isn`t trusted either.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he has the second-highest disapproval ratings of anybody running for president.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who has the highest?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Latest polling indicates Americans want a president they can trust. Someone who isn`t --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A liar?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone who respects the constitution and the rights it protects.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone who has a proven track record taking on the Washington establishment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do we stop Ted Cruz? How do we stop Ted Cruz?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think we can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: First of all, the so-called disapproval ratings they cite are totally being does. In the most recent polling it is Donald Trump who has the highest unfavorables, an incredible 69 percent, followed by none other than Ted Cruz himself. Hillary Clinton comes in third.
Secondly, the idea that running against Cruz would make the Clinton team quake in its boots is pretty preposterous. His stance on the North Carolina law for one example is a reminder that Ted Cruz lies way outside the mainstream on social issues. It`s not just liberal activists fighting that controversial law, it`s Fortune 500 companies, musicians, the NBA.
And Cruz isn`t just out of step with trans rights, which are still relatively new to public consciousness at least to the general electorate, but on issues like same sex marriage, where public opinion has moved in a clear direction. As of a year ago, 60 percent of Americans said the law should recognize same-sex marriages as valid, a number that only continues to rise.
Ted Cruz, on the other hand, believes states can choose to nullify the Supreme Court`s same-sex marriage ruling, also calling it, quote, "fundamentally illegitimate."
Fifty-six percent of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 78 percent support legal abortion in cases of rape or incest. Ted Cruz, well, he favors no abortions. No exceptions. And not ever.
Joining me now, former Cruz campaign spokesman, Rick Tyler, now an MSNBC political analyst, and conservative commentator A.J. Delgado, who supports Donald Trump.
And, Rick, let me start with you.
RICK TYLER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hey, Chris.
HAYES: You know, let`s separate out first something whether you like a candidate substantively, and whether you think they`re the most electable, right? So, those are two distinct things. There are people I think are great politicians who are never going to be elected president.
HAYES: I want to focus on electability argument. I just saw a poll that had his disapproval ratings in New Hampshire, which is not a deep blue state, at 72 percent. The notion that Ted Cruz has some favorability, popularity card up his sleeve, does seem wholly ungrounded in the data.
TYLER: Well, I remember early in the campaign Ted Cruz was the most likeable, that was a Gallup poll, and everybody was surprised at that. And, look, the data numbers are high because this campaign has been very contentious and people are on the attack.
Hillary Clinton`s numbers are obviously very bad and her numbers are bad because people don`t trust her. But those things have to be fixed. Donald Trump, one of his big problems is he has a disapproval rating among women about 74 percent, among Hispanics about 80 percent, young people, 85 percent. He`s got to fix that.
I think that`s what Manafort is brought in for. What he`s doing now is essentially becoming that which he ran against. I mean, he`s bringing in establishment lobbyists into his campaign, being controlled by them. He`s going to use a teleprompter as you pointed out.
Within 24 hours, he seems to have shifted positions. He`s proposed raising taxes, he`s proposed raising -- changing the platform on abortion in the Republican Party. And his utterance on the transgender bathroom bill, which he never mentioned in North Carolina or anywhere in the South when he was running, but now all of a sudden, he`s always for it.
HAYES: So, A.J., I want you to respond on the North Carolina bill issue which my sense that is you support Trump`s position. And whether you think -- what do you think that says about his sort of electability?
A.J. DELGADO, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think I`m very proud of him, actually. I think it shows a sensible, pragmatic, practical conservative. We saw that side of him today.
And the social conservatives even in the base that might not agree with him on it, no one is going to say, well, I`m concerned about jobs and the economy and ISIS, but I don`t agree with Trump on this so that means I`m not going to vote for him.
That`s silly. He won`t lose base voters. It will only bring in independents who might listen to him and say, wow, that`s really a sensible position, while Ted Cruz sounds insane.
HAYES: A.J., on this -- on the numbers, it is the case, the two people who are the least popular national politicians are one and two in the Republican side. And I -- Hillary`s unfavorable ratings are high, they`re third. But these two are the highest.
Donald Trump has set records. How can anyone credibly go to the Republicans and say, this person who right now, 69 percent of Americans disapprove of, is your best shot to win?
DELGADO: Because I don`t really think you should take those polls into account until each party has their respective nominee. Those favorability ratings don`t mean anything right now until people have two to decide --
HAYES: But here`s the thing -- A.J. hasn`t he said -- there are so many bells that he can`t unring, right? Whether it`s --
DELGADO: Like what?
HAYES: Whether it`s the opening Mexicans are rapists, whether it`s a Muslim ban --
DELGADO: He didn`t say that.
HAYES: He said, they`re not sending their bests, they`re sending rapists, and some I assume are good people.
DELGADO: That`s actually correct, that some are that come across.
HAYES: OK, fine, yes, some group of people of any broad swath of people maybe rapists, or criminals in some sense. I would say the perception, as that was heard by many Mexican Americans, and certainly if you poll Latinos, was that was offensive whether you substantively agree or not.
My point is there are things he`s said that have driven these unfavorables. Whether that`s going to come down against another candidate is seems unlikely to me.
DELGADO: And he`s garnered millions of votes. The unfavorable doesn`t really matter. Who`s the one who`s gathered the most votes? It`s Donald Trump.
Ted Cruz, with all due to respect to Rick, needs to drop out. Ted Cruz said somebody who doesn`t have a path to the nomination has no business staying in the race.
Why is he still in the race today after New York when he has no mathematical path to the nomination? How is the person that couldn`t even secure their own party`s nomination going to win in the general? Donald Trump is the only person who should be in this race right now.
HAYES: Rick, that question about mathematical possibility seems to me, particularly right now, it`s 98 percent he`s going to win probably after Tuesday, he will be mathematically eliminated from getting to 1,237 --
TYLER: No, no, no.
TYLER: He`s not mathematically eliminated. The reason is, Chris, is because you need, according to Rule 40-B, you need eight states with a majority of the delegates who will put your name in nomination. He has that, so does Trump. Nobody else does. So, he`s not mathematically eliminated.
HAYES: He`s mathematically eliminated from achieving 1,237 before the convention.
TYLER: Yes, and Donald Trump may soon be mathematically eliminated also. He has not gotten 1,237.
DELGADO: Donald Trump has the path to 1237 --
TYLER: This is the seventh inning and we won`t to call the game. We have nine innings in this game.
DELGADO: Ted Cruz has not path.
HAYES: Rick, here`s my point. A.J.`s point seems a strong one as well. I mean, Ted Cruz is unquestionably the most popular person with the social conservative base. You saw his comments went over well when he talked about the North Carolina bill.
Do you genuinely believe his positions on those issues are shared by the majority of Americans in contravention of what the polling says?
TYLER: Well, I think there`s a commonsense idea that people should use the bathroom of their gender, and so, there are a lot of people who agree with that. I don`t think that the entire campaign is going to hinge on whether transgender people can use the bathroom of their choosing. I think it will probably focus more on things like the economy, which has been stagnant for eight years. Focus on ISIS, who is going to defeat them.
HAYES: That`s right.
TYLER: Et cetera. By the way --
HAYES: Rick, let me just say, and I liked your phrasing there. Let me applaud the phrasing which was precise and accurate.
That gave away the game, yes. It won be decided by that issue. If it were I think the Republicans might get the smaller slice of the pie in the words of Patrick Buchanan, his favorite culture war memo.
TYLER: We talk about practicality of Donald Trump. Earlier this week, he also said that, I will deport people who are here illegally, but then I will bring them right back. I mean, that is the most impractical idea ever. We`re going to take 11 million people, round them up, touch them back in Mexico, then bring them back in.
HAYES: Let me say there`s a lot of impracticalities floating around and we`ll see if that continues.
Rick Tyler, A.J. Delgado, thank you both for spirited conversation. Appreciate it.
All right. I`m joined now by Jess McIntosh, the spokesperson for Emily`s List. That`s a PAC working to elect pro-choice female candidates. They have endorsed Hillary Clinton.
Do you think there`s a preference in Brooklyn in Hillary Clinton headquarters about should they win the nomination who they run between these two?
JESS MCINTOSH, SPOKESPERSON, EMILY LIST: No. I mean, yes, but it`s a --
HAYES: You don`t think there is?
MCINTOSH: I think half of Brooklyn wants to run against Ted Cruz and half of Brooklyn wants to run against Trump and it`s for different reasons.
One, Trump`s unfavorability is sky high, and especially among women. Women will be the key to Trump`s undoing in the general election. Even Republican women find his statements and past rhetoric completely repugnant.
HAYES: And he also, we should note, he hasn`t really been hammered that much on that. One ad, the Stop Trump PAC I think --
MCINTOSH: Yes. It should be known that the people who have hammered him hardest that issue, at least on the air and on digital space, are Republicans at this point. They know how strong that is against him and if they want to stop him that`s wait to do it now.
I think the people who want to run against Ted Cruz want to run against Ted Cruz because he`s a much more by the book conservative guy. He has views that are wildly out of touch with the majority of America. And frankly, I might prefer to run against Cruz because it would be a little bit of a relief to not have such a wildcard out there. Even though I think he`s a bit of a wildcard.
HAYES: Exactly right, I think the Ted Cruz two and a half web ad making Hillary Clinton terrified, if anything the fear that is Donald Trump is able to, in the words of Mitt Romney last time around, etch a sketch his views, completely throw overboard everything that people haven`t liked and say, this is what I am, and people go for it.
Whereas, Ted Cruz cannot do that. Ted Cruz is who he is. He`s had those views, he`s on the record. He can`t run away from them. And they are not the whole I think shared by the majority of the electorate.
MCINTOSH: No, I mean, the only reason we`re not talking about how amazing it is that Republicans are going to nominate someone so extreme as Ted Cruz is that Donald Trump outdoes him --
HAYES: Who is out of sync with his own Senate caucus, which is the most conservative in Republican history.
MCINTOSH: I think in Brooklyn, they are legitimately torn and that`s a decent place to be.
HAYES: Jess McIntosh, thank you.
Still to come, the extraordinary legacy that Prince leaves behind. How one man changed the industry, ahead.
But, first, a new message from Bernie Sanders whether to push to win the nomination even if he doesn`t have a majority of the vote. That`s just two minutes away. So, do not go anywhere.
HAYES: Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is pledging to fight for the Democratic nomination, saying he is in it until the last vote. The problem is the campaign continues to suggest it might try to win with superdelegates, those folks who are Democratic National Committee electeds and other folks, even if Hillary Clinton still has more pledged delegates by the convention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: If after June 7th, after California, if you don`t have a majority, if she has a majority and more of the popular vote, would you then concede, endorse her, the way she did of Barack Obama?
SANDERS: Look, if we do not have a majority, I think it`s going to be very hard for us to win. The only fact that I think remains uncertain is if we continue to be running significantly stronger than she is against Donald Trump, or whoever the Republican nominee will be, I think that`s a factor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Speaking with my colleague Rachel Maddow last night, Sanders` campaign senior adviser Tad Devine said this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAD DEVINE, BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Hopefully, we`ll get all the way there. If we come four, five delegates short and we go from being 326 delegates behind on the 15th of March to 2, well, technically she has more delegates. But I think if we get very, very close or a few ahead, you know, I think that will be very impressive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Sanders` campaign manager Jeff Weaver made arguably stronger comments to MSNBC`s Steve Kornacki that neither candidate would win the nomination with pledged delegates alone by the convention, so election would be determined by superdelegates.
Now, this kind of talk is creating a bit of a backlash, not only among Hillary Clinton supporters. The Washington director of the progressive group Move On told "The Washington Post", "Move On members overwhelmingly endorse Sanders for president. We want him to win the most pledged delegates, become the no nominee, and become president. But superdelegates shouldn`t overcome come the will of the Democratic grassroots."
It`s particularly difficult for Cruz that had been arguing that the superdelegates are fundamentally undemocratic, to support a strategy by which Sanders would win with superdelegates. It`s also somewhat unclear if the Sanders campaign would actually try to win that way.
Joining me now, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of "The Nation", which has endorsed Bernie Sanders.
All right. I want to start with a really important distinction which is who you think is the best person in this race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and whether you think one or the other would be the better president, and the objective conditions of the race right now, right?
I feel like there`s this weird confluence that`s happening among Sanders supporters where it`s like, even if you think Sanders would be better, like he is behind right now. KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, THE NATION: But, Chris, let`s step aside from that nor a moment. I think that Bernie Sanders should continue to run for president.
HAYES: I don`t disagree.
VANDEN HEUVEL: I think you should go to the convention and I think he should go and he should -- listen, as an insurgent candidate he`s amassed more votes than any other insurgent candidate in contemporary American history. He should go with that strength in order to drive procedural reforms and to drive a progressive platform.
HAYES: So, this is -- I`ve heard -- I thought of this idea. So, let`s say --
VANDEN HEUVEL: Think of the campaign he`s run, Chris. I think we lose sight of that with new math, delegate math, superdelegate math. I think we have to step back. He was 3 percent in the polls about a year ago. He has driven issues into this election that would not have been on the radar.
And for that, I think we step back, it takes two to tango, both candidates, both campaigns, have taken a low road. Nothing compared to the guttural politics of the Republicans. But it`s time to take a high road and for Bernie Sanders especially to remind that I believe he is the future of the Democratic Party, but to lift those issues up that made him the insurgent candidate which has electrified the young and electrified millions.
HAYES: But you say, so here`s my question, right? I sort of -- my general feeling on all this is I`m a small D democrat, right? I think we should get rid of caucuses.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Absolutely. And superdelegates.
HAYES: Yes, get rid of superdelegates. People should change.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Don`t change the rules in the middle of the road.
HAYES: I totally agree. But I also think from a first principles democratic perspective, small "D," democratic, it`s very hard to make the argument the person with the most pledged delegates shouldn`t be the nominee.
VANDEN HEUVEL: I agree with that. But I do think we`re going to be in a place where you`re going to have to win the enthusiasm of a lot of people who have endorsed and supported Bernie Sanders. And that`s going to take in the convention things we haven`t seen in a long time.
HAYES: But wait, you say in the convention. When we`re talking about June 7th -- sorry, the 14th is D.C., don`t write D.C., D.C. you guys matter. The 14th to late July, right, that period.
How do you envision that period? Should it be the case that he has not caught pledged delegates and go to the convention? That could be a nasty war of attrition, or it could be something else. Like, what does that look like?
VANDEN HEUVEL: I`m not tied into the Bernie Sanders campaign but I suspect Bernie Sanders will speak to his supporters and say, we`ve got to fight in the convention for the future of this party, because Chris, what`s happening in this campaign is not just a fight for the delegates. In my mind it`s a fight for the future of the Democratic Party.
Bernie Sanders is part of it in many ways, even though people try to write him out and they shouldn`t. The Warren/Sanders wing of the Democratic Party I believe is ascendant.
The Democratic Leadership Council, many of your viewers look it up, it seems like ancient history, is dead. The future of the party could be Bernie Sanders` future but he needs to fight for it in a way that is not going into the trenches.
And I think there are divisions inside the Sanders campaign. I think you have an old guard like Devine and Weaver and a new guard which wants to continue an insurgent campaign that will fight for the future of a party that needs to be fought for.
HAYES: I think the question on a lot of people`s mind what that fight looks like. But we`re going to find out as this goes forward.
Katrina Vanden Heuvel, a pleasure to have you here.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. Still to come, as we look at the crowd outside the Apollo Theater in Harlem tonight, how one man change the entire music industry. That is a great shot, guys.
A look back at the life of a cultural phenomenon. That coverage starts in 80 seconds, the life and legacy of Prince. Do not go anywhere.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE, MUSIC ICON: When I was 16, I was completely broke and needed to go get a job, so I got the yellow pages out and I couldn`t find one thing that I wanted to do. So I decided I was going to push as hard as I could to be a musician. And win at it, you know?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The man simply known as prince died today at his home in suburban Minneapolis. He was found unresponsive in an elevator when sheriff`s deputies and medical personnel arrived. He was 57 years old.
Authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding his death. Last week, Prince`s plane made an unscheduled landing in Illinois. The music icon was reportedly brought to a local hospital. At the time his publicist said he was fighting a flu.
Hours before that flight, prince played what would turn out to be his final show. An intimate concert in Atlanta as part of his piano and a microphone tour on April 14th.
News of Prince`s sudden death was immediately greeted with an outpouring of mourning, grief and celebration of his astounding career.
President Obama, who hosted a top-secret performance by Prince at the White House last year, said in a statement, "Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly or touched quite so many people with their talent."
On Instagram, Madonna wrote, "He changed the world. I`m devastated."
Rolling Stone`s frontman Mick Jagger said, "His talent was limitless, he was one of the most unique and exciting artists in the last 30 years."
Born Prince Rogers Nelson in 1958, the son of two musicians, prince was a precautious and prodigiously gifted instrumentalist, a master of guitar, bass, drums, piano, among other instruments. His first album was released in 1970.
He rose to superstardom in 1984, just in his mid-20s with the release of "Purple Rain" which coincided with a film of the same name, would earn him a pair of Grammys and an Academy Award.
Prince will go down as one of the most meticulous and prolific musicians ever. In 35 years, he released 39 albums. His dispute with Warner Brothers proved how relentless he could be over the control of his artistry.
And while much of that music was about love and sex, prince didn`t shy away from being political.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE: Albums still matter. Like books and black lives, albums still matter tonight and always.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In Baltimore last year, he gave a rally for peace concert after the unrest following the death of Freddie Gray and released a tribute song that aimed to inspire activism.
HAYES: Prince was everything at once. He transcended styles and genres as well as identities and niches. He was profane and holy and transgressive and conservative all at the same time. Most of all, he was a performer, a sublime performer. As evidenced by his thrilling 2007 Super Bowl halftime show, perhaps the best we`ll ever see.
HAYES: All right, joining me now is Trymaine Lee, MSNBC national reporter, and Joy Reid an MSNBC national correspondent, to about the news today. It really hit people so hard, really hit people hard.
JOY REID, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Me too. It took me awhile to sort of recover from it. I mean, I grew up with Prince.
I mean, you know, his first -- the first song that I remember, "I Want to be Your Lover," came out when I was probably in like fifth grade. And this was like illicit music we listened to on the side of Michael Jackson. They came out at the same time, right.
So, mom knew that we were into Michael Jackson, we could watch that as a family. But we would all be sneaking off to listening to Darling Nicky, and being like, you know, this is sort of the other side of the pop phenomenon we weren`t really supposed to accessing.
HAYES: It`s so funny you talk about the illicitness of it, because my first memory is that "Purple Rain" and images from it. And a child being like, what is going on here? There`s some adult thing is happening here that is very intriguing that I do not have the words for.
REID: And we really weren`t supposed to accessing. I remember -- and Prince did a tour that came through Denver at one point and my motor was like, you are not going to that tour. They came to our school, and they were giving combs -- purple combs and everything, and I couldn`t be a part of it but you wanted to access it so badly, because really my adult self, I look back, he was talking about female sexuality, women`s sexuality, in a very empowering way that you just didn`t see. And he was bending gender norms in a way no man, particularly no black man, ever did.
HAYES: Trymaine, you started tweeting out today this story of when you hung out with Prince, fairly recently. Tell me about what that was like.
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC: I`ll tell you what, Chris, it was the kind of most Prince-like experience I could have ever imagined. And it was wonderful and ethereal in so many ways. So, it was during the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Minneapolis. And we were kind of part of this very small group of five or six journalists that was invited to meet The Purple One, right?
So, we go to Paisley Park. And we`re greeted by a set of beautiful twins and another kind of tall statuesque kind of woman. And they lead us through this kind of maze through his house. And we end up at this small studio. And there is Prince behind the mixing board king of at work. And as soon as he turns around, you know, this kind of small guy, but this energy where he greets us and he smiles and shakes our hands.
But this moment is one I hold on to. And I smile when I think about it, even in this tragedy. He tells one of his guys, he says it`s a little crowded in this room, let`s go upstairs to the bigger office. And he says, but dim the lights for the doves.
And I`m like, of course Prince actually has real doves in his house.
So the angels float up the stairwell. And we follow them and it`s all lit by candles. And I hear this cooing kind of off to the side. I look over, there`s this like 6, or 6`2" intricately designed white bird house filled with doves. And it`s at the top of the step you look out, he has gold records and his awards.
We finally get into this big office room, this big space. And there are games of chess, like five or six boards, all around the office, in mid- game. And it kind of speaks to this brilliant man who was this thinker.
But then when we started talking to him, his whole point was all about as we`ve seen throughout his entire life, the idea of liberation, not just liberating oneself from those gender norms as Joy talked about, the androgyny. But also freeing yourself from the other ties that bind, like business ties.
We all remember his fight with Warner Brothers for control when he wrote "Slave" across his face.
But he talked about young artists coming up, saying that it should basically be illegal for them to sign the contract saying, don`t sign, that artists should own their masters. They should own the right to their work.
But he also talked about the idea of social justice. He had gone to Baltimore and wrote that song and held that concert in honor Freddie Gray. He talked a lot about freeing ourselves from the systemic and institutional kind of shackles that we`re still kind of hinged to.
But he said that, you know what, we lived a certain way, the next generation shouldn`t. And he was kind of passionate about it and earnest about it. And so in all of this magnificence and all of this dynamics that Prince is, he still had that side of him that was very much a fighter. And that kind of stands out to me, this kind of beautiful man with this beautiful energy.
But at a very serious side, this little guy with his deep voice. And it was just kind of a moment that it was an honor and a privilege just to be a part of.
HAYES: The ferocious independence to me, like I was spending all day watching Prince interviews. And just like someone who had a spine of steel to preserve what his vision was.
REID: That`s right.
James Brown, Little Richard, Prince, right, these are three people -- and David Bowie I would have to say -- who struck out probably the most independent, singular, iconic images in music and defied everything the music industry says an artist is supposed to be.
HAYES: Business, everything.
HAYES: All right. Trymaine Lee and Joy Reid, thank you very much.
We`ll have much more coverage ahead, including some amazing Prince interviews you do not want to miss. Plus, the time that Prince made history in 1992, what he did just after this break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When RCA records signed Elvis Presley back in 1956 they paid $35,000, unheard of at the time. Here`s an unheard of figure for our times: $100 million. That`s the deal prince cut with Warner Brothers records. A $10 million advance, $10 million each for six albums, the rest in royalties. More than Michael Jackson, more than Madonna.
And Prince gets a title -- corporate vice president.
HAYES: And September of 1992, Prince signed one of the largest recording and music publishing contracts in history, six albums, potentially $100 million.
Now the historic relationship between the rock icon and recording giant quickly soured, culminating in his changing is his name to an unpronounceable symbol. How Prince became the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, and the logic behind it in 60 seconds. Stay with us.
HAYES: Almost immediately after Prince signed his unprecedented contract with Warner Brothers in 1992, a prolific artist and his recording studio started butting heads. Prince reportedly began clashing with Warner Brothers over his output. He was constantly creating and recording new music and Warner Brothers wanted him to put out less of it to avoid flooding the market, according to a Rolling Stone report.
It was the beginning of a long and tortured relationship.
(BEGIN VDIEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said his recording label, Warner Brothers records, and their publishing arm Warner Chapel, exercised too much control over his music and his identity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: While, Prince couldn`t get out of his six-album contract with Warner Brothers, there was something he could do: change his name, or rather get rid of it altogether, and that`s exactly what he did less than a year after signing with Warner, opting to go by a symbol which he would later copyright as love symbol number 2. He became popularly known as the Artist Formerly Known as Prince.
Going under that symbol, he released several albums under his own label, including security distribution rights in 1996 with Warner Brothers` competitor Capital Records, again according Rolling Stone.
Publicly, I think it`s fair to say the move flummoxed many people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYANT GUMBEL, NBC: It doesn`t bother me, but what would you say is the continuing point of having no pronounceable name?
PRINCE, MUSICIAN: Well -- my name is very spiritual to me and has a great deal of spiritual meaning. And one day maybe I`ll hear a sound that will best give me the feeling of what it`s supposed to be, but for right now I just go by the look of it.
GUMBEL: Does it bother you that it discomforts others, that it may make it difficult for them to interact with you?
PRINCE; To some degree. But there again, it`s just one of the many rules that we as humans have to get used to. And I`m just trying to get unused to it, I guess.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Not only did Prince go by an unpronounceable symbol, which forced Warner Brothers to email to journalists on a floppy disk so they could write about the artist, which is just a great thing to do to the people that are screwing you over and you don`t like. But he also took to performing with word "Slave" written on his cheek.
But the end of 1999, almost a decade after signing the historic deal with Warner Brothers, his contract expired and he went back to his original performance name.
(BEGIN VDIEO CLIP)
PRINCE: On December 31st, 1999, my publishing contract with Warner Chapel expired, thus emancipating the name I was given before birth, Prince from all long-term restrictive documents.
I will now go back to using my name instead of the symbol I adopted as a means to free myself from all undesirable relationships.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: An endlessly fascinating guy and the man who wrote the book literally about Prince is going to join me at this desk in just a bit right after this break. Don`t go anywhere.
HAYES: All right, joining me, MSNBC contributor Toure, the guy who literally wrote the book on Prince. Toure, it`s so great to see you.
TOURE, PRINCE BIOGRAPHER: Thank you.
HAYES: I was watching an amazing interview of you talking about the time that you played basketball with Prince.
But I want to start with this dispute with Warner Brothers. Because I remember it being -- it was like a late-night comedy joke, like this crazy guy, like how eccentric and nutty can you be.
HAYES: And it was only really when I dove into it realizing, this had this very profound political statement about self-ownership.
TOURE: Yeah, the word "slave" was a bit much in that situation but it was about emancipation, it was about taking control of his career and his back catalog from the labels. He didn`t care if you called him Prince or I called him Prince or he walked through the airport he said people would yell out "Purple Rain," he was fine with that.
But he didn`t want the labels to have that control with him.
And as you tweeted today, I played basketball with him, I passed the ball to him, he didn`t see it coming. I said, Prince! And then, oh, I`m going to get thrown out of here, because you can`t call him Prince, because he`s the symbol man!
But when he came back he was laughing. And I said, well, what`s so funny. And he said, you didn`t know what to call me, and he liked that. He didn`t mind that I called him Prince, but he liked that I was on edge about the whole thing. But it was about the labels.
And when you think about, like that, this was a really important stand. That he wanted all artists to understand, you have to be in control of your career and we are not. And here`s the way to get in control of your career.
You think about Chance the Rapper on Kanye`s album talking about Harriet Tubman of the underground come and saw the trail. That`s what Prince was doing.
HAYES: Pay us like you owe us for all those years that you hold us.
HAYES: There`s something about also his background that I think is so interesting. When yu look at this person with like -- he`s this icon, right and eccentric, but the just the work ethic and the drive and like listen to stories -- watching this Tavis Smiley interview like he had a dad who was like kind of intense.
TOURE: He did have a very intense father who was very much part of him becoming who he became, not just throwing him out of his house, but also his father occasioned young Prince, 13, 14 years old, to be playing in strip clubs, right, so to be learning that side of life.
But yeah, extremely difficult childhood. His original nuclear family falls apart. He lives with his dad. He gets thrown out or leaves his dad, we don`t know which. He ends up having to leave his mom. He talked about some of the physical abuse from his stepfather. I haven`t substantiated that, but that`s what he said.
And then he`s living in the basement of Andre Simone`s mother`s house for his teenage years. I mean, a very difficult childhood that is just like, I`m just going to become a rock star and all this will fade away.
HAYES: And already, I was reading someone today who went to seventh grade with him, already in seventh grade a musical prodigy -- essentially a prodigy, like band arrangements, can play the trumpet, could pick up things and...
TOURE: Absolutely, I mean his mother talked about, you know, at the youngest age they would go int oa department store, and she would lose track of him, and he`d be with the instruments, playing.
And yes, he learns all those instruments and he`s extraordinary. He didn`t learn the horn, but he could do anything else. But was also thinking about performance and also thinking about the music business in his teenage years.
So he was not just doing the exciting, I want to be a star stuff. He was also doing the, I need to have a business stuff, really, really smart approach.
And he was an incredibly hard worker. He was making a song a day. Usually artists are doing a song a week. A song a day is an extraordinarily fast pace. And he was doing 24, 48-hour sessions in the studio. Everyone else is tapping out. And he`s like, let`s do more.
He`d do six hours of rehearsing, they leave, I`m going to do four more hours on the LinnDrum. Extraordinary work ethic.
HAYES: All right, Toure, thanks for being here tonight. I think viewers will see you later on tonight here during the special. It`s great to see you, man.
TOURE: Thank you, Chris. Yeah, great to be here.
HAYES: All right, more coverage of Prince`s death ahead.
HAYES: Joining me now Richard Kim, executive editor of The Nation magazine; Christopher John Farley senior editor and culture columnist for the Wall Street Journal. And Christopher, we see there`s a bunch of people outside the Apollo, Spike Lee is having a block party in Fort Green, telling people to wear purple. There`s a block party in Minneapolis.
What I`m just struck by is like the sort of ferocious courage it took for Prince to be who he was from the time that he started entering the world as the person he was.
CHRISTOPHER JOHN FARLEY, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yeah, he brought a lot things together. He brought together streams of black music and white music and he added to them rock `n` roll and soul music, put them together.
But I think not only was he a pioneer as a musician, I think it`s important to note as you have that he was an important part of the music industry as an industry rebel.
He told me once that he made more money off the five-CD set Crystal Ball that he released on his website than he did off of Purple Rain.
I don`t know if that`s true or not, but the fact he made that statement says something about the way the industry is run and why he was raging so much against it that he could make more money off of something he released on a website than something that`s an iconic, huge, cultural moment.
HAYES: His -- it`s funny -- not funny -- it is striking that we have lost David Bowie and Prince in the same year. Because to me, these are two people that really performed masculinity in complete ways that were totally orthogonal to the traditional way and opened up vistas.
You wrote about that today, it`s like a young, gay man what Prince meant to you.
RICHARD KIM, THE NATION: Yeah, and it wasn`t even just masculinity or sexuality, it was like -- you know it was the early `80s, Reagan had won, the Christian right was ascendant. Disco was dying. Gay men were dying. Sex was something to be feared.
You know, the dominant culture was reinforcing order, responsibility, respectability, and Prince comes along and he just nukes that whole culture. He just rebukes all of it. And it`s not overtly political but he creates this alternative universe, you know, and the colors in that universe are not red, white and blue. They are paisley, and purple, raspberry. And he`s not a woman. He`s not a man. He`s something that you will never understand. And that, that creation I think was a real work of art. And then the magic is that he got millions and millions of Americans in suburban shopping malls to buy into that work of art.
FARLEY: I think make a great point. And what I loved about his music is in his music, in his world, sex and salvation were not incompatible.
FARLEY: You know, so often they`re at war. Oh, you can be sexy but you can`t be religious. No you can be both in Prince`s world, and he invited everybody to join him in that way of thinking.
KIM: It was dangerous, it was excessive, but it was always about pleasure.
HAYES: You know, I was just rereading, Hinton Als, who was a great critic of The New Yorker has an essay about Prince where he starts off with a Jamie Foxx routine, which we can`t even play for you, becuase it`s not playable. But Jamie Foxx is basically, like I met Prince and the whole schtick is, I`m not gay but like I was kind of feeling some things for Prince.
It`s hilarious because it`s sort of about the transgression that is -- that Prince was able to carry off.
KIM: Oh, yeah, I think you have to be a little dead inside to not look at him and be totally mesmerized in some way.
FARLEY: (inaudible) a great skit where he goes, like, you know where you got that shirt, and you didn`t get from it the men`s department. I mean, he wasn`t afraid to do that. He wasn`t afraid to wear whatever he was feeling and people respected him and loved him for it.
HAYES: The older I get, the further I go in my life, and the more I realize like how the gravitational forces of conformity act on people and institutionally and the incentives to do that, the more that I stand in awe of people that resist that in the way that he has. And that to me, just watching interview after interview today, like the ability to do that is a truly distinct and amazing skill.
Richard Kim, Christopher John Farley, thanks for your time tonight.
All right, that is All In for this evening.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END